Where Tara discovers that Kyle has been set up...
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Episode 209. About 10 months (86)
Diane tilted her head, her eyes widening with lingering questions.
It was to be expected, as only a few of Kyle's closest personnel knew about his personal family history.
From their behavior, it was clear that only a select few of their closest associates knew about their relationship. No wonder Diane looked at me in surprise.
"Your only aide? Hmmm. Like having a personal doctor? You usually don't have a lot of people around you. Then for what reason...? Ahhh! Is it because you think your assistant is very good at her job?"
On the surface, it may have sounded sarcastic, but looking at her expression, I could see that it wasn't the case at all, but a genuine question prompted by surprise and curiosity.
Kyle slowly opened his mouth when I couldn't answer straight away.
"To put it simply....!"
I took a step ahead of him as I feared whatever strange explanation would come out of his mouth.
"I'll... I'll explain, Your Highness."
"Really. Will you?"
He turned towards me, so only I could see his smile. His grin was really annoying but I held my peace.
Instead, I vowed to threaten him later on and tell him that if he decided to have fun explaining our public relationship in a strange and suggestive way again, I would not stay idle.
I took a deep breath and explained things slowly.
"My Family, House Elias, who have been neutral until now, have recently decided to join His Highness. So, I also joined his service to help to lend his Highness my strength. I will do my best. I'm looking forward to working with His Highness. Madam."
Diane looked at Kyle again, as if doubting my explanation. He slowly nodded and looked at me, backing up my statement.
I was worried he would say something strange and suggestive again, but the words that came out were unexpected.
"May I add something? As a discussion partner, she isn't just competent, but actually quite capable. Her work is fast and has a delicate touch. There are still shortcomings, but I'm sure that if she continues to work beside me, she will become a great talent and will be very helpful to me in the future."
I had to forcefully close my slightly opened mouth.
It was a great compliment. I didn't know whether it was sincere or if he said it because he had feelings for me, but he was the kind of person who could separate public and private affairs, so it was probably genuine.
"Oh my! Is that what it is?"
Diane got up slowly, smiling broadly and reached out her hands to me.
I felt embarrassed and wanted to scratch the back of my head, but I couldn't ignore her hands flapping around as if urging me forwards.
So, I walked slowly forwards and took her hands in mine.
"You must be wonderful, Aide. If my Kyle says this about you, I can't even imagine how good you are at your job. Working in a place other than the inner palace, Aide to the Second Prince and a noblewoman at that. That is truly amazing."
"I'm flattered, Madam. I'm learning a lot from him."
"Oh, my God. You’ve even considered learning from such a strict guy like him. Thank you very much, Aide. You are clearly such a reliable and strong person. I really respect you as a woman."
"No, no need.That's... Thank you though. I look forward to it, Madam."
It was such a massive compliment that I felt my face burning under its weight. I smiled, embarrassed, and tried to pull my hands away, but Diane just held them tighter unwilling to end the conversation just yet.
"I want you to take good care of my Kyle from now on. But he tends to give people a hard time. So, when he does, just blow him off."
There was a hint of laughter in Kyle's voice as he spoke slowly while drinking his tea.
This guy was so relaxed now.
Diane lightly shrugged off Kyle's words.
"Hush you. It's natural to be concerned for the only family I have. As you can see, Aide, he's very hard on the outside, but even if he acts as if nothing can touch him, if he thinks it's reasonable, he can be quite generous. So, don't be shy and tell me right away if he's being unfair. Alright?"
"Oh, yes. I'll do that."
"... Enough, sit down."
Kye said, pointing to a chair he had pulled out beforehand. But Diane wasn't finished so I had no choice but to stand there with an awkward smile.
"You can tell me if you're having a hard time. Now that we've been formally introduced... Oh, come to think of it, I thought I had seen you before... You wield an axe, don't you?"
Surprised, I widened my eyes.
"We were having a meal when you had a fight at the crossroads with the Lackton gang."
Kyle explained further and I nodded in understanding.
"Oh... you saw that. I'm embarrassed, Madam."
"Oh no! You don't have to feel embarrassed! I saw you fighting with an axe and thought it was really impressive... Oh my! Oh my! And how much you have changed since then!"
Diane made a fuss, belatedly aware of my body change.
"Yes, I've been training."
It was Count Philip who stopped Lady Diane. She still held my hands, amazed.
"Darling, hasn't Angela been waiting for a long time? Shouldn't we introduce her?"
Surprised by the Count's words, Diane finally let go of my hands.
"Oh my! Look at me. I'm sorry Angela. Please take a seat, Aide."
Diane turned around and apologized. Angela, who had been waiting this whole time, smiled brightly and said softly that she was fine.
She was even prettier when she smiled broadly with her beautiful, even teeth...
As I sat down slowly, Diane reached out her hand to Angela.
"Angela, come here. I'm sorry to have had you wait for so long."
"No, It's been a while since you've seen each other. I was just worried that I might have disturbed you."
She had a soft voice, but her pronunciation was precise and clearly audible. And she spoke very beautifully.
Still blushing, the woman quietly took Diane's hand and sat down with her on the sofa.
"Oh my! You're not a bother. Whoo. Now Kyle. This is Angela Benson, the eldest daughter of the Benson Family. Angela, this is my only cousin Kyle, Second Prince of the Empire, as you already know."
Benson? As in the Olive Benson that I know?
Come to think of it, they looked a bit similar.
I glanced at the Angela Benson girl, then at Kyle, who was looking at her, then at Count Philip and Diane, who couldn't hide their eager expressions.
What was it? I felt like I'd witnessed a similar situation before...
The kind of situation where men and women of marriageable age met through a family gathering.
Damn it. This was a blind date!
And I was sitting next to the guy who had just confessed that he liked me?
Lady Angela, who had stood up with one hand on her chest at Diane's introduction, greeted Kyle in accordance with aristocratic manners, as I did earlier.
No, it was completely different from mine.
Her posture was more elegant, dignified, soft and relaxed than the pictures in an etiquette book.
I immediately turned my attention to Kyle.
But Kyle was staring at me with a rather stiff expression.
I silently asked what the situation was, but he only shrugged.
Diane urged him in a high pitched tone.
Then, very slowly, Kyle got up from his seat.
"Nice to meet you, Lady. My name is Kyle, Second Prince of the Amure Family."
This was the first time I’d seen it.
The way he showed his respect to someone, and how he greeted a noblewoman.
Even during the last banquet at the Hunting Grounds, I had never seen him converse with one.
In contrast to the 3rd Prince Joseph Amure, who took turns dancing with the young ladies of noble families, Kyle had spent his time sitting on the podium, conversing with ministers or acting uninterested.
Not only that, but I had witnessed courageous young ladies approach him directly many times, only to see their greetings answered curtly or simply ignored.
Even when he sat among the noble girls chosen by the Empress when the Crown Princess selection was announced, he never spoke or looked at them.
However, now, not only did Second Prince Kyle get up from his seat, he also bowed his head lightly and politely greeted her according to etiquette.
Why was she the only one who got special treatment?
No, that wasn't it. This was a formal introduction under the Family name.
If it was a formal introduction, you shouldn't be rude to a noblewoman. That was part of the aristocratic etiquette of the Empire.
In addition, this introduction was performed by his only cousin, so he couldn't ignore it.
Nevertheless, this was the Second Prince we were talking about.
The fierce, indifferent, cold-hearted and cynical Second Prince.
Seeing him treat this noblewoman in a dignified and courteous manner, knotted my stomach for some reason.
I watched the situation quietly.
"As you can see, the Bensons and the Reeses have a pretty close relationship. If you were looking for the family Reese trusts the most, it would be the Bensons. I'm sure the Bensons think the same, right, Philip?"
"Yes, Darling. The Bensons are also a strong Family."
As Kyle and Angela sat down again, Diane and the Count clapped their hands and praised the Benson Family.
Angela lowered her gaze and sat, her posture perfect, overflowing with grace.
Kyle was looking at his cousin and Angela with blunt and polite indifference.
"We Reeses have always appreciated the Bensons, Kyle. Have you heard of them?"
Following Diane's question, Kyle leisurely drank a glass of water, then slowly opened his mouth.
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